plastic water bottle

Bottled water

The bottled water industry is the triumph of marketing over common sense, it has become a symbol of our disposable culture at its dumbest.” Joshua Blackburn, founder of Tap.

Over 650 million people in the world do not have access to reliably clean and safe drinking water. In many places people have to walk long distances to fetch water.  Increasing demand means that rivers and underground reserves are running dry, so that by 2025 it’s estimated that 3 billion people will be facing chronic water shortages.

Around 315,000 children under-five die every year from water-borne diseases – almost 900 children per day, or one child every two minutes.

In the UK on average each person uses 150 litres of water in the home each day, and in the USA over 570 litres. We have high quality clean water supplied on demand at the turn of a tap, but only about 2% is used as drinking water. We even flush our toilets and water our gardens with water fit to drink, yet in the UK in 2015 we spent over two and a half billion pounds on bottled water.

UK consumption of bottled water has more than doubled in the last 15 years, and is more than 100 times higher than in 1980, reaching almost 3.3 billion litres in 2015. Consumption per person is over 51 litres per year in the UK, and over 100 litres per head on average in Europe and America (Zenith International).

Worldwide 50 billion bottles of water are bought each year, and 80% of these mostly plastic bottles go to landfill.

The bottled water industry has made efforts to reduce environmental impacts by reducing the amount of plastic used to make bottles and increasing the use of recycled PET and new compostable and bio-degradable plastics. Many are now using up to 50% recycled material in their plastic bottles, and the recycling rate for single use PET plastic bottled water containers has doubled to 37% in the last ten years. It also takes less energy to produce PET containers than cans or glass (NAPCOR).

As responsible consumers we need to ensure that any plastic bottles we use are sent for recycling and never discarded as litter. Most plastic bottles never biodegrade but instead go through a process called photodegradation where they are broken down by sunlight into smaller and smaller pieces, each of which are still plastic polymers. This process can take over 400 years or even up to a thousand years. (see also Plastics are forever).  The vast majority of all plastics ever produced still exist somewhere, in the ocean, as litter, or in landfill. Plastic waste is now a huge problem in the world’s major oceans, presenting a great risk to marine life, killing birds and fish which mistake plastic debris for food.

ReFill app adAlthough there are times when it makes sense to buy bottled water, for the most part you could do yourself and the world a favour and save some money by drinking water from the tap. There are lots of reusable water bottles on the market, see a selection here on Amazon.

Get the ReFill app for your phone.  ReFill is a scheme run by the water companies to make drinking water more freely available and cut plastic bottle use. They are building a network of premises such as cafés, hotels and restaurants in every major town and city in the UK.  Visit for more information.

If you really can’t face drinking water straight from the tap you could try investing in an simple filter jug which will remove the chlorine from your household supply and improve the taste.

Most jugs of this type use non-refillable, plastic filters which must be replaced monthly. An exception which uses no plastic is the black+blum eau carafe.  This is a glass carafe with an active carbon filter made from tree branches. The filter reduces chlorine, mineralises the water and balances the pH. Each stick lasts for 3 months and can then be boiled for 10 minutes to recharge for 3 more months.

They also make a Charcoal Filter Water Bottle

If you really must buy bottled water, try Belu which is natural mineral water sourced and bottled in Shropshire and supplied in glass bottles or in bio-bottles which are made from corn and are compostable. Belu is non-profit making and all proceeds go to Water Aid to fund water projects in drought-afflicted areas.

It is another product we do not need. Bottled water companies are wasting resources and exacerbating climate change. Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and transporting water adds to that. We could help reduce these damaging effects if we all simply drank water straight from the tap.”
Dr. Michael Warhurst, Friends of the Earth’s senior waste campaigner.



Note: some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through them turning2green gets a small commission at no extra cost to you.

cat sleeping on radiator

Radiator Boosters

Boost the heat in your home AND save energy? A radiator booster fan might be the answer if your heating is struggling in the cold weather.

Radiators only radiate about 20% of their heat – the rest rises up to the ceiling or is lost through nearby walls or windows. Radiator boosters are designed to increase the efficiency of central heating by redirecting warm air out into the room. The room heats up more quickly, allowing the boiler to shut down sooner.  They are usually automatic, using a thermostat to run only when the radiator is hot.

Radiator boosters fit most single or double panelled radiators but are not intended for use on storage heaters or oil filled radiators. Installation is simple and they are easy to move from room to room as they just plug into the nearest socket.

radiator booster
Turbo Logic Radiator Booster

The Turbo Logic Radiator Booster (Mk3) is a basic model. It sits on top of the radiator and uses a single fan to draw heat out from behind the radiator. The warm air is blown out of the end of the fan into the room.

The Radiator Booster was independently tested by Which Magazine (2011) who concluded “Our test lab found that, with the radiator booster fitted, the room heated up more quickly, the thermostat needed to come on less often, and energy consumption dropped”.

The manufacturers say the booster costs £0.30 per year to run with an average annual saving of £70 to £140 on energy bills. As this booster costs about £25 it should pay for itself very quickly.

Available to buy online from Ethical Superstore

radfan radiator booster
Radfan Classic Low Power Radiator Booster Fan

Radfan Classic Low Power Radiator Booster Fans come in three sizes for small, medium or large rooms. They have 2, 4 or 6 forward facing ultra low power fans, depending on the model, costing about £2 to £6 per year in electricity to run. Warm air is gently blown directly forward into the room rather than out of the side.

The manufacturers state that a Radfan on a radiator under a window reduces heat lost through the window by 35%. They guarantee that the product will make your home warmer without having to spend more on your energy bills. Their fans have been independently tested in trials funded by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Radfans are quieter and more powerful than the Turbo Logic booster but are more expensive. They cost from about £40 to £110 depending on size and are available to buy online from Amazon.

Stanton RadBooster
Stanton RadBooster High Performance Radiator Fan

The Stanton RadBooster High Performance Radiator Fan goes underneath the radiator. It doesn’t need any fitting and simply sits on the floor with the legs adjusted to fit up close to the radiator.

It’s a robust unit, made of steel, with a powerful motor and two fan speeds.  An added bonus is a summer switch to cool the air when the weather is hot.

The Radbooster blows out warm air forwards along the whole length of the unit. The manufacturers say it uses approximately 18W of power.

This fan has been third party tested by the Building Service Research and Information Association (BSRIA) who found it warmed a room 15 minutes faster that the Radfan Classic. Tests conducted in 2017 suggest the Stanton RadBooster could save the average home over £160 per year on their energy bills.

The RadBooster comes in three sizes costing from about £75 to £125 and is available to buy at Amazon.

radiator reflectors


Radiator reflectors

The Energy Trust also recommend fitting radiator reflectors behind radiators to reflect their heat back into the room – see Radflek Radiator Reflectors at Amazon or Ecosavers Radiator Foil at
Ethical Superstore


See also our post on No-cost ways to reduce your energy bills